Motorola RAZR M: Australian Hands-On

I'm getting worried about Motorola, you guys. First we saw the new RAZR and were impressed, then we pined for the battery beast that was the RAZR Maxx and instead got the RAZR V — which was essentially the new RAZR but with a lower price. Now we're getting the RAZR M: a Kevlar-boasting, 4G-laden, bezel-less smartphone looks pretty much the same as the last few RAZRs. Something's going on here.

Before we get to Motorola as a company, though, we must look at the RAZR M. It's easy to say that it is just more of the same, but there are a few details which stand out.

Editor's Note: Our feed writers have already reviewed the Droid RAZR M 4G LTE on Verizon in the US, and now the phone is finally coming to Australia. We went hands-on for the first time today and we'll post a full Australian review in November when it hits the market locally.

The RAZR M is a Kevlar-coated, liquid-resistant smartphone from Motorola that sports a 1.5-GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, a massive 2000mAh battery, 8-megapixel camera and a 4.3-inch screen screen that spans edge-to-edge with a resolution of 540x960 pixels and 256 pixels per inch. It will run Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box — despite being released in November 2012 — but Motorola says Jelly Bean will arrive a few months after the release date.

It's the first phone to carry Motorola's fast new UI that runs faster and includes a brief settings pane (rather than a widget) on the far left. That's a great touch.


It feels nice and light when you pick it up and it's easy enough to use with one hand. The Kevlar coating feels great as always, but this time it's actually tapered down the back of the device so that the panel looks like a vase shape. The RAZR M still comes with the same splash-resistant finish as its predecessors does which is great. All companies should do it.

The edge-to-edge display is the best thing about this device. We've had some complaints about the RAZR bezel before but this deals with all of them. It's the same physical footprint as the iPhone 5, but those extra few bits on the side means that the device is 0.3-inches larger. Doesn't sound like much until you start using it.

It's also sporting Telstra 4G out of the box which is nice and fast as we know.

What's most interesting about this phone is how it was announced. Motorola's local managing director took the stage and boasted about how the company is now a Google property and added that as a result, it's going to be doing some radically different things going forward.

Nexus rumour mill aside, Motorola spent the next 20 minutes picking out the areas where Apple had failed with the iPhone 5 — Maps, App Store, battery life and closed ecosystem — and using those as points of differentiation for the new RAZRs.

It's really interesting to see Google speak through Motorola to tread on Apple's wounds and kick it while it's down, especially considering Motorola hasn't been a company to lay the boot in too much before.

Motorola ought to be careful when criticising Apple for its hardware and software, though, especially when the last 12 months have been filled with Motorola announcements for phones that are barely different from their predecessors. It's a curious communication strategy, to be sure.

Will we see more of this boisterous Motorola going forward? If it gets the next Nexus phone, I certainly hope so, because we'll see the shortest press conferences in history:

This is the new Nexus phone, and we're awesome. *Spikes the mic, walks off stage*

Back in the real world: the RAZR M goes on sale exclusively through Telstra in November for $600 outright or for $0 on the $60 Everyday Connect Plan for 24 months.

We'll bring you a more detailed review closer to the release date.

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